I am super excited for the Halloween season. It has always been my favorite holiday (yes, even more than Christmas). There is so much magic and mystery in the air. As a child, I would go gun-ho in the spirit of Halloween (no puns intended). I would decorate the house, carve jack-o-lanterns, and of course, dress up! Growing out of the commercialization of this holiday, I have developed a respect and interest in the traditional practices of this holiday…
History lesson! Halloween’s origins date back over 2,000 years ago to the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced Sow-een). The Celts celebrated this time as the end of their year, since they only had two seasons. It falls halfway between the Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice and was meant as a time for celebration and the end of the harvest and the preparation of winter. Other festivals from other cultures and religions fall at this time, such as the Catholic holiday, All Saint’s Day & All Hallow’s Eve, which honors known and unknown saints. Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday celebrated at this time to honor former relatives.
So instead of Halloween, I am celebrating Samhain this year. It seems more appropriate for me to connect with these ancient energies and celebrate the old ways of this holiday. I’ve been very eager, doing research as to how to celebrate my first Samhain. I have devised a list of ways to commemorate this time and am sharing them with you for your own ideas of how to celebrate!
Ways to Celebrate Samhain
1. Have a Bonfire – Celts would have bonfires to symbolize the sun. They would continuously add wood to the fire, fueling it and representing the sun’s power to continue providing warmth and light through the bleakness of winter.
2. Carve a Jack-o-lantern – In order to prevent harmful spirits from entering a household, people would hollow out pumpkins and gourds, carving scary faces into them and placing them in windowsills or doorsteps, frightening lurking spirits away.
3. Dress up – Another method people would use to avoid evil spirits was to dress in costume and wear masks to disguise themselves whenever they ventured out. This was to trick the spirits.
4. Communicate with Spirits – At this time, the veil between our world and the Spirit & Fae world is thinned, allowing this time for communication with the other side. Heighten your psychic abilities and connect with the spirits through the stones, moonstone, amethyst and quartz.
5. Honor your Ancestors – Since the ability to contact with spirits is very strong at this time, people would take this opportunity to contact and honor their ancestors. Visiting graves, making alters, or simply remembering your pasted on relatives and those memories of them.
6. Divination – Divination rituals were typically practiced during Samhain. Often times, these revolved around future love and romance. One method was to peel an apple into one long piece. When the peel comes off, it was dropped on the floor. The letter it forms was the first initial of that person’s true love’s name. There are many ways to practice divination. For a closure look at divination methods, check out my post, Divination 101.
7. Cook a Feast – Samhain is a celebration, and what celebration wouldn’t be complete without a special meal? Some foods commonly associated with Samhain are pumpkin, apple, root vegetables, hazelnut, and corn. Soul cakes were a popular treat baked and given out in commemoration of the dead. Ciders and ales also were consumed during this time.
Whatever you decide to do this Samhain, I hope you have fun and enjoy the spirit of the holiday!